Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Resurrect the Sinking Ship, Light the Extinguished Lamp

"As dead dreams fall heavy on her  
she staggers out in tatters 
bruised breasts smell of raw flesh 
the soul weeps in the ashes 
of burnt apparels of dignity"
           -Dr. Rita Malhotra, Poet-Mathematician 

Life is laced with irony. Isn't it? What I till yesterday was touting as perhaps the best day of my life in JMC turned out the be the tragic last day of life of Radhika Tanwar, the now-much-hyped Ram Lal Anand student, killed by her own college mate. It was the International Women's Day yesterday, and being the flag bearer of as society which pledges to work for the rights and dignity of women in the college and society at large, I was celebrating it in gay abandon in the grandest auditorium one can come across in the University, isolated from the world. As the show moved on, I received a request on the stage to make an announcement cautioning the girls against moving to Satya Niketan, for some sort of a murder had taken place there. Having admonished the audience, I moved ahead with the programme, hell bent upon making it the best Women's Day Celebration JMC had seen ever. And so it became. And then, I got to know what a heinous crime had been committed less than a kilometer away from my college.

Let me get it straight here. I am NOT blogging because I feel threatened living in a city as 'unsafe' as Delhi. I have lived through my fair share of eve teasing incidents. Honestly put, they were gross, disturbing. I remember this rain washed day, I was walking down a road, short of money, walking in stead of taking a riskshaw, drenched head to toe. A black Santro stopped near me, and some veritably ruffian faces invited me to be seated with them in the car lest I fall ill because of the downpour. I was scared, but I reacted quick. Sought help from the nearest human I could spot, and fled in no time. Till date I wonder, if not for that man who helped me escape the place, what would have happened to me.

So, I started observing caution. Basic safety rules acquired paramount importance. Buses preferred to autos when during dusky hours, no opulent clothing when in bare view of public, moving with the crowd as much as possible, avoiding lonely spots, learning to trust no one. In simple language, I stopped trusting the public machinery for my safety, and this I say despite the fact that in the contemporary scenario of venom being spit on the government from all conceivable directions, I remain a believer in the state machinery. It is a convenient way of living. I hold trust in the state for protecting me, and I put in place all precautionary measures to protect myself.

Another, very clear and succinct reason behind this attitude of mine is a realization of the fact that if we really, truly want to bring about a change, any type of change, small or big, momentous or otherwise, we can do it much better by infiltrating the system, rather than standing up in arms against it. Our nationalist leaders recognized it during the freedom struggle. They called it 'wreck from within', I call it 'resurrect from within'. It is not idealistic, trust me. It is perhaps as pragmatic as it can get. Hurdles galore, I know and realize that, but historically, a path unto greatness has never been found which has not been laced with obstacles mammoth in size. Make a resolve today, and chase it unto the horizon, chase it till you win. If protests are your way of dealing with it, I support you with my wishes, not so much by my actions; but if protests are really your way of doing it, make sure you turn it into a Jessica Lall success(with a slightly twisted objective), and not one of those numerous Jantar Mantar protests which die down even before they are heard.

Am I allowed to give a very idealistic solution to this whole security mess that has been created? The practicability if this solution is nearly zero, but it's my blog, I am allowed even to be insane if it is my calling. There is a certain DCP Chhaya Sharma (refer article pasted below), who has turned one of the most crime prone zones in Delhi into a very safe and secure area, especially for females. I have had the good fortune of having shared a room with this firebrand woman IPS, the vanguard of the very successful models of safety employed in Delhi- the metropolis with the most shameful reputation with respect to civilian security. She looks purposeful, almost invariably, almost always. If possible, however bleak or miniscule this possibility, please get her to the South Delhi Campus, and give her a chance to set up a model for our campus, which is home to five of the best girls' colleges, and yet, has a very justified ignominious reputation as far as law and order is concerned.

I don't know how this sounds, but losing hope, is not my way. India is a country of great paradoxes. While we rant on about how the rural poor live in conditions of abject destitution, there is model I always like to keep in mind as I advance ahead with my bureaucratic ambitions. It is the model of a village called Hivre Bazar, which was almost on the brink of a collapse, with massive penury and resource scarcity leading to an exodus of locals into nearby villages. Today, that same village is home to 54 millionaires, with an infrastructure which can put even towns to shame, and all this change is the result of the efforts of a few enterprising young individuals, who sought the Constitutional path to revolutionize a society for which 'hope' was too far fetched a word. They were visionaries, the question is, how many of us can pursue a cause with as much dedication as they did. They took advantage of only two amendments to the Constitution, the 73rd and 74th, but more than anything else, it was their conscientiousness, pragmatic dynamism, and their WILL which caused the change. How many of us have that fire within us?

Our country is a great country, but it is in dire need of able, empowered and, as earlier stated, conscientious young people to cultivate an irrevocable feeling of belonging towards it. Doing something for the country should not be an onerous duty, but a sweet responsibility. I cannot live without hope. Yesterday, a candle was extinguished. Tomorrow we'll light a million more. And yes, while I do insinuate towards the candle light vigil organized tomorrow at Satya Niketan at one thirty, to which all of you are, of course, invited, what I actually mean is that if we actually, genuinely feel disturbed by the hideous crime committed, the flame should be lit within us, so that darker anti social elements, who come from among us are banished forever. Demanding security is a primary right, but try and do this without allowing Radhika Tanwar, a beloved daughter to now grieving parents, to be come a media doll used for lambasting aimlessly at the state mechanisms. As I said earlier, try and not wreck, but resurrect.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Shreds and Smithereens

Woh afsaana jise anjaam tak laana na ho mumkin, usse ek khoobsurat mod dekar chhodna hi achchha ..

I read this in the paper a few days back. It was quoted by the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vinod Yadav, when he closed a major chapter in the Bofors scam saga by discharging Italian businessmen, Ottavio Quattrocchi. I read it again today, as the facebook status of one of my friends. In a eerie coincidence, it now perfectly applies to me. 

In the last two days, I have undergone a major transformation. My selfless attributes were my greatest pride. Now, a very selfish face stares at me each time I look into the mirror. Not more than a week ago, my very close friend from college was giving my a didactic lecture about how selfishness, in the contemporary context, had altered from being a vice to a virtue. I had hated her then and there for saying such a foolish thing. Today, I feel like a buffoon, for having been enraged at her. I have embraced those very selfish ideals. I gave up on a very, very essential part of my existence. I abandoned love, and along with it, I abandoned faith. 

My life, my smile, my tears, my love--all of this had stemmed from a person. The bond I shared with him was beautiful. Not perfect, but beautiful. But every beautiful thing does not have to be eternal. In fact, most beautiful things, especially if we add a dimension of perfection to them, are more ephemeral than something unpleasant. So today, the bond stands broken. Broken, not shattered. 

The bond has not shattered, but I have. It is today that I understand what a poet tried to convey when he spoke of silent shattering in some poem of my school English text books. I can totally feel it, understand it. I can today understand what it means to have your emotions burnt to smithereens. Understanding-it is not a gift I have received from many. Like many other good things in life, I have stopped hoping for it. The height of irony in terms of what just transpired as perhaps the most epochal happening of my life is that what went against me was my sanity. Heart in shreds. Feelings down to ashes. 

One good thing, however, remains. He remains. He lives. He breathes. As long as that happens, the miracle of my life stays alive. Faithless existence is senseless existence. The most crucial battle in my life is waiting to be won. Sans faith, it seems illogical to even start treading the path. I hope this time I receive cooperation. I hope to death that I don't fail this time. I know from where I'll draw strength. He knows from where I will draw strength. 

And while I try hard to keep my faith breathing, I will have my off days. There will be days I will look to hold someone culpable. There will be days I would not want to exonerate anyone for the wrong that happened with me, assuming these are days I am bent upon proving that wrong did happen to me. There will be days I would want to shout and cry loud and call out for comfort. There will be days I will crouch in one corner of my room, shedding tears, waiting for the coveted perfection to return to my life. I will try to be brave, but I cannot be brave enough to rule out the possibility of any of the above happening.

My best expressions are written. When I feel a need to reconnect, I will do it via writing. I always wanted to write something special for him. I wanted to document for him, more than my love, my fears associated with our bond. I began doing it yesterday. To Have, To Hold, To Love is a new blog I started to exclusively stay connected to him. It shall be my new address, whenever I am in distress.